Randy Jurado Ertll

Is El Salvador Heading to a Second Civil War? De Randy Jurado Ertll. Con correcciones de Paolo Luers

Un novelista radicado estadounidense con raíces salvadoreños escribió en The Huffington Post un artículo sobre El Salvador y su crisis de seguridad. Paolo Luers se permitió corregirle la plana.

Political posturing and American indifference have put bloody El Salvador on the path toward a second civil war.

If you make a pact with the devil, the devil will expect much in return.

That is exactly what El Salvador’s former leftist President Mauricio Funes did in 2012 with his party, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), and the Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) and 18th Street, or Barrio 18 gangs — both created in Los Angeles, and responsible for many murders and much anguish here and throughout the United States.

We now know that many young children who were coerced into joining these gangs had been previously involved as government child soldiers or guerrilla fighters in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Mexico. These children eventually grew into vicious gang members who attacked their enemies — other gangs and civilians — without mercy.

¿We know? ¿Cómo saben esto? La verdad es que muy pocos pandilleros provienen de las filas del ejército o de la guerrilla. Es absurdo decir que “niños que fueron forzados a unirse a las pandillas” anteriormente han sido “soldados niños” en la guerra de los 80. Si al hacerse pandilleros eran niños, tendrán que haber sido bebés cuando se hicieron soldados o guerrilleros. Las pandillas se convirtieron en fenómeno masivo y en organizaciones fuertes a finales de los 90, principios del siglo 21.

In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton quietly ordered the deportation of gangsters living in the United States. Thousands of Mexican and Central American gang members were deported to their home countries and stripped of their US naturalized citizenship, permanent residency, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

They arrived in their home countries desolate and without hope of finding any type of work. Most established new cliques throughout El Salvador and other countries. While the FMLN and Arena, El Salvador’s two main political parties, fought for electoral power throughout the first few years of the new century, MS-13 and 18th Street gang members were growing up and busily consolidating their drug-fueled power in the country’s poorest and most neglected areas.

Funes served as president from 2009 to 2014. Yes, he and some of his top military brass and the Catholic Church negotiated a truce between MS-13 and 18th Street gang members in 2012. But they apparently did not take into account what such a deal with those particular devils might bring.

El problema no fue que Funes permitió que se gestionara una tregua entre las dos pandillas que se estaban matando entre ellos. El error histórico de Funes fue que no aprovechó esta oportunidad de relativa calma (los homicidios bajaron de 15 diarios a un promedio de 6 durante 15 meses) para restablecer la presencia del Estado en las comunidades urbanas y rurales con fuerte presencia de pandillas; y que no hizo las inversiones sociales y en transformación de comunidades marginales que hubieron podido convertir la “tregua” en el inicio de un proceso sostenible de pacificación y reinserción.

There are an estimated 25,000 gang members at large in El Salvador, with another 9,000 in prison. Another 60,000 youth are believed to be involved with juvenile gangs. The Mexican cartels have infiltrated their ranks and now recruit these gangsters as foot soldiers and drug traffickers.

Otra leyenda urbana que muchos periodistas internacionales reproducen sin ninguna investigación y confirmación. Las pandillas salvadoreñas tienen muy pocas y puntuales relaciones con los narco-carteles mexicanos. Tienen una identidad grupal que choca con la de los narcos, y son resistentes a ser reclutados y a terminar de empleados o soldados de ellos. La verdad es que el hecho de que los carteles mexicanos no han podido establecerse y hacerse poderosos en El Salvador, muy poco de debe a la eficiencia de la policía salvadoreña sino a la decisión de las pandillas de no permitirlo. Por ejemplo, los Zetas fueron expulsados de El Salvador por decisión y balazos de la MS13.

After the FMLN made this pact, which saw gang leaders agreeing to stop murdering people in return for better prison conditions, including transfers and family visits, the killings tapered off.

Otro error: No es el FMLN que en 2012 hizo un “pacto”, o más bien permitió y facilitó el acuerdo de tregua entre las pandillas. El FMLN históricamente ha hechos pactos puntuales (locales o coyunturales-electorales) con pandillas, pero nunca estuvo involucrado en “la tregua” de 2012/13. Por lo contrario: la tregua se dio cuando, bajo presión de la opinión pública, de la oposición, de Estados Unidos y de la empresa privada, Funes quitó la dirección de la Seguridad Pública, de la PNC y de las entidades de inteligencia al FMLN y puso al cargo militares y otros, que no tenían vínculo con el FMLN. El FMLN y sus cuadros en la PNC y en inteligencia se opusieron, de principio al fin, a la política de facilitar la tregua, y de hecho, el FMLN como partido de gobierno se negó a la idea del entonces ministro de Seguridad, el general David Munguía Payes, de reorientar la inversión social del gobierno para poder convertir la tregua en un proceso sostenible de inclusión social. Al recuperar el FMLN su influencia en el aparato de Seguridad y la PNC, en junio de 2013, con el nuevo ministro Ricardo Perdomo, el gobierno comenzó a boicotear la tregua y la mediación – y entonces comenzaron a volver a subir los homicidios.

The truce was credited for a drop in homicides, from an average of 14 per day to five, over 16 months. People living in gang-controlled areas said the truce had an unanticipated effect, allowing gangs to increasingly prey on everyday citizens through extortion and terror. Ultimately, according to The Asociated Press, “homicide numbers started rising again in June 2013 and never came back down.”

To take care of the growing body count, Salvadoran gangsters have created clandestine cemeteries in remote areas, according to a number of news websites. They also entomb the bodies of their victims within the cement floors of “destroyer homes” or “crazy houses,” where they congregate, torture victims and conduct satanic rituals.

La anterior es otra leyenda urbana no sustentada en investigaciones serias o números. Los números de desaparecidos y los números de cuerpos encontrados en cementerios clandestinos se comprtaron igual quye los números de homicidios: entre marzo 2102 y mayo 2013 bajaron, y a partir de junio 2013 hasta la fecha se incrementaron. Si sumamos las desapariciones y los homicidios, la curva baja durante los 15 meses de la tregua, y vuelvce a subir después.

According to The AP, El Salvador had more homicides in March than any other single month in a decade. Data from the National Civil Police, The AP reported, show 481 homicides recorded in March, or more than 15 a day. There were 73 murders in the first five days of April. In the month of June, over 677 individuals were murdered, more than any other single month since the country’s civil war ended in 1992, amounting to an average of 22.6 killings per day.

The United States, the FMLN and Arena have been responsible for allowing these gangs to grow astronomically. Thousands of civilians have been brutally murdered while the United States and the two political parties have turned a blind eye to the gravity of the situation.

The US State Department recently warned of the unsafe conditions in El Salvador, as more than 35 US citizens have been murdered in the last few years. Most were Salvadorans who became naturalized US citizens and returned as tourists without knowing what might be involved in dealing with gangsters.

Some have romanticized gang culture. But there is nothing romantic or glamorous about living in impoverished areas most affected by bloody gang violence.

Shame on the United States and El Salvador’s political powers for not doing more to stop the murders of innocent poor people in that nation and other Central American countries. Now is not the time to ignore what is going on. Now is the time to act, before the situation becomes even worse.

Randy Jurado Ertll is the author of the novel “The Lives and Times of El Cipitio.” His web-site is WWW.RANDYJURADOERTLL.COM

Resumen: Randy Jurado Ertll debería seguir escribiendo ficción y no meterse en notas periodísticas que requieren conocimiento e investigación.